Instead of using these last games to strategically rest players and tune up for the playoffs the Golden State Warriors find themselves in the unenviable position of needing health more than wins. So in one sense, the Warriors have already gotten everything they were hoping for out of this game when they announced earlier this afternoon that Klay Thompson will be available to play.
Some much needed splash assistance
The Warriors offense is badly in need of a shot in the arm: over the last ten games the team has been ranked 22nd in offensive rating (103.9). While the dramatic fall from top offense in the league to one of the worst is certainly not entirely Thompson’s fault, with both him and Kevin Durant back on the court we are finally going to have enough pieces to field some semblance of what Steve Kerr had in mind when he built this offense.
While it’s nice to see crisp ball movement, if the guy at the end of the possession doesn’t know what to do with it, your team is only going to look so good. Getting Klay back (as well as Draymond Green and Kevin Durant) is going to go a long way towards making this team’s offense look like it can hit the broadside of a barn with a basketball again.
The Kings are still bad, but they’re a dangerous bad
The Kings are in the very select group that have beaten the Warriors more than once this season. So far this season, Sacramento has taken two very close wins from the Warriors: 110-106 on November 27th and then another tight one that ended 98-93 on March 16th.
It doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but if the Kings win the game tonight, it would mark the first time that Sacramento has won the regular season series against the Warriors for only the second time since 2002.
Front end of a back-to-back
While it’s nice to talk about the return of Thompson (as well as Draymond Green and Kevin Durant), we are still operating without a few key players - one of whom just so happens to be one of the best in the world.
Andre Iguodala and Omri Casspi are going to really be missed in this game too, as they are some of the best “minutes sponges” available to soak up minutes at the wing/big. With all the various dings still bothering our three available All Stars, it would be nice if we had more options to cover some of the rotation tonight since we turn around and play the Suns tomorrow on a back-to-back.
Oh well, it just means more Quinn Cook, I guess.
Warriors 101 - Kings 80
(okay, I just picked a couple of local freeways, but I actually feel good about this)